Though it's only about 25 minutes outside of San Antonio, Enchanted Springs Ranch transports its guests to a totally different world?and to a totally different century, for that matter. Considered an enchanted place by early Native Americans for its rolling hills and flowing rivers, the 86-acre working ranch serves as a living, breathing reincarnation of the Old West. It bustles with activity and has been recognized by Oprah as one of the country's best "Wacky Family Attractions."
Rugged structures, lush pastures, and trickling springs surround guests while they explore the property. Perhaps the best way to do that is not by tossing a saddle on a rocking horse, but by climbing aboard tractor-pulled wagon rides. These tractor tours tote passengers across the premises and past a collection of wildlife that includes longhorns, buffalo, deer, and zebras. On foot, guests may encounter pistol twirlers, bull whip champions, trick ropers, and real cowboys and cowgirls that populate the ranch. Such an authentic experience hasn't been overlooked by film creators or party planners, either: the ranch doubles as a movie set, and can also be rented for wedding receptions, birthdays, and other special events.
In the pens at Fiesta Farm, light scattered by the branches of tall trees warms a menagerie of mild-mannered pets. Youngsters cautiously reach out to touch the wooly ears of a llama or venture into the enclosure to laugh at the guttural babble of potbellied pigs. On the 15-acre ranch, Laredo, a bay-quarter horse, waits patiently to nuzzle guests or provide rides, and bunnies, an emu, and sheep compete for attention across the wooded landscape. Before and after visits, a shaded picnic area hosts pleasantly exhausted visitors, and the farm's barn is equipped with fans and heaters for the comfort of guests and to keep prima-donna billy goats from freezing their perms off in the wintertime.
To celebrate SeaWorld's 50th anniversary, SeaWorld San Antonio is unveiling what they're calling a "Sea of Surprises." Here's what's in store: * Surprises throughout the day: Visitors will encounter new interactive pathway experiences, more up-close animal encounters, and the Surprise Squad, which treats guests to prizes and special experiences * New seasonal shows: including the nighttime Shamu show, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night, as well as an anniversary-themed ski show
The San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium has more than 3,500 animals in a variety of realistically themed exhibits. A family membership gives two adults and their kids or grandkids unlimited, express member entry to the zoo for 365 successive days. Tour the African plains and visit the ostriches, antelopes, and baby-lugging Marabou storks as they gather around the water hole to demonstrate the newest Kindle, or brave the tropical mysteries of Amazonia in search of an anteater, macaws, and the giant Andean condor. Membership also includes discounts on programs, special events, gift-shop and concession-stand goodies, and free or discounted access to a lengthy list of zoos and aquariums across the country.
Ripley’s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: “Believe It or Not!” It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor’s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley’s museums, or as they’re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley’s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley’s tradition of reporting on the world’s curiosities.
More than 500 exotic animals prowl, scamper, and crawl through their expansively recreated habitats at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. One of the rarest and most beautiful of all the animals is on display in the Ghosts of the Jungle presentation. There, two white lion cubs, some of a very small number in the world tumble and play. They're not albinos, but uniquely pigmented animals first seen in the Timbavati region in 1938, and they have beautifully colored eyes that flit intelligently around their space.
There's plenty else to see there, as well. Guests quake with curiosity as they watch the alligator and crocodile ponds. Patrons can interact with cuddlier critters at the petting zoo, where dozens of fluffy goats, alpacas, and llamas gather to tie-dye their coats. Elsewhere, cackles of hyenas reverberate throughout the grounds, spurring a pack of wolves to emit a more introspective sound by baying at the moon. Wizened tortoises bask in a field of lettuce and racing trophies as a duo of ring-tailed lemurs relax in their environment.